What happens to my health insurance when I leave an employer?

Who is this for?

Michigan Health Insurance – Customer Service – How To

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members under age 65.

When you get your Blue Cross plan through an employer, you probably don’t think about it too much. You have payments taken out of your paycheck and use your coverage when you need it.

So if you lose insurance you had from a job, or decide to go into business for yourself and need to buy your own, or you might not know what to do.

We’ll help you understand what steps you can take, things like COBRA, and address some common concerns.

When insurance through a job ends

You have two options to make sure you don’t go without coverage. If both are available, be sure to compare them to see which is best one for you.

Change to a Blue Cross plan you buy yourself

You have up to 60 days before and 60 days after your employer’s plan ends to purchase a plan. Find a plan.


The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, or COBRA, is a federal program that lets you keep the same coverage you had on the job. The difference is now you pay the full monthly cost, instead of sharing it with your employer.

You qualify for this program if your employer had 20 or more full-time employees and:

  • You or your employer ended your employment
  • Or, you lost insurance because you were laid off or your hours were reduced

To learn more about COBRA, talk to your employer’s HR department or visit the Department of Labor website.

Pre-existing conditions

It doesn’t matter if you’re switching to insurance you buy yourself or getting it with a new job. You can’t be turned down for coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The plan can’t have a waiting period either, before it helps pay for care.

What happens to your deductible

A deductible is the amount you pay for health care services before your health insurance begins to pay.

Unfortunately, that amount doesn’t transfer from plan to plan. Your deductible starts over when you switch to new insurance.

Confirm your current doctor takes your new insurance

You pay more or all the costs when you go to a doctor who doesn’t take your insurance. If you want a new plan to help pay for visits to a doctor you like, ask the doctor’s office if they accept it. Be sure to give them the full name of the plan.

You can also look on our website to find doctors and see what plans they take.

Switching to insurance through an employer

After enrolling in your employer’s plan, you can cancel the insurance you bought yourself. Learn how.